Lot 5

Ion Grigorescu

The Leader (Death of Nicolae Ceaușescu)


Oil on copper plate
75 × 65 cm (29.5 × 25.6 inch)


Sold for €3,600


Artwork description

Noted centrally down, in white, 1946-1989

Lot Notes

Ion Grigorescu is one the most important Romanian artists of the communist period. He was one of the first Romanian conceptual artists and advocates of anti-art, postulating a radical consolidation of artistic activities with quotidian life. He created numerous films, photographic series, as well as drawings and collages that documented both his private life and the transition of Romanian people from life under a communist regime to the realities of capitalism.

Communism has served as inspiration for several of Grigorescu's works. Among these one can mention "The Cultural Revolution" (1971) and "Electoral Meeting" (1975). However, Grigorescu has never expressed his position towards communism clearly. In fact, during the communist period, he obtained a commission from the state to paint the portrait of Nicolae Ceaușescu. The portrait, which entailed three representations of the leader in front of a scale model, was not bought, given that it did not comply with the iconography that was normally used when representing Ceaușescu.

Though created after the fall of communism, in 1991, this lot is equally ambiguous. It depicts the body of Nicolae Ceaușescu, who was shot during the 1989 revolution. The expression of the face and the clenched hands almost seem to induce pity. On the other hand, this vulnerable posture of the once fearsome leader can also be seen as a celebration of the overthrow of communism.



For a more detailed condition report contact 


Ion Grigorescu

b. Bucharest, Romania, 1945
Based in Bucharest


Solo (Selection)
  • 2017 - “Opera pictată”, National Museum of Art, Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 2013 - “Trauma of the Exposed Body”, Prometeo Gallery di Ida Pisani, Church San Matteo, Lucca, Italy (International)
  • 2011 - “Level 2 Gallery: Out of Place”, Tate Modern, London (International)
  • 2011 - “Performing History”, the Romanian Pavilion at the 54th International exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (International)
  • 2010 - “Oedipus The Wanderer”, Gregor Podnar Gallery, Berlin, Germany (International)
  • 2009 - “In the Body of the Victim (1969-2008)”, The Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (International)
  • 2009 - “The Poor people are fending for themselves”, Angels Barcelona, Spain (International)
  • 2008 - “Superpositions”, JGM Gallery, Paris, France (International)
  • 2008 - "The Time Modified the Place", A l’Enseigne des Oudin, Paris, France (International)
  • 2006 - “Am Boden”, Salzburg, Kunstverein, Austria (National)
  • 2004 - “Fotografii recente”, personal exhibition, Galeria Noua, Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 2002 - “Auf der Suche nach Balkanien”, Neue Gallerie Graz (International)
  • 2001 - “Remedy for Melancholy”, Edwin Kunsthalle, Stockholm, Sweden (International)
  • 1999 - “Una Bisanzio Latina”, S. Maria Poppolo Church, Rome, Italy (International)
  • 1998 - “Documents (1967-1997)”, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 1993 - “Mahlzeit für eine tote Kunst”, Schauplatz Zeitgenossischer Kunst, Wien, Austria (International)
  • 1993 - "Animality, society, divinity”, Romanian Cultural Institute, Venice, Italy (International)
  • 1992 - “A Meal for a Dead Culture”, Schauplatz Zeitgennössischer Kunst, Vienna, Austria (International)
  • 1991 - "Wanderlieder”, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (International)
Group (Selection)
  • 2011 - Venice, Italy (International)
  • 2011 - “Out of Place”, Tate Modern Gallery, London (International)
  • 2010 - 2011 - “After the Fall”, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Arts, New York (International)
  • 2010 - “Construcții Auxiliare Provizorii”, Recycle Nest Gallery, Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 2010 - “Gender Check. Feminity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe”, Museum of Modern Art, Wien (International)
  • 2010 - “Subversive Practices”, Trafo, Budapest (International)
  • 2009 - “Subversive Practices”, Stuttgarter Kunstverein (International)
  • 2008 - “Crisis”, Angels Gallery, Barcelona, Spain (International)
  • 2007 - “Resources”, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 2007 - ”Ressources”, with Geta Brătescu, M.N.A.C. Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 2007 - Documenta 12 Kassel Dadaeast, (Zürich, Praga, Stockholm, Sibiu, Warsaw), “Exit memory, desire”, Artra, Milano (International)
  • 2006 - “Kontakte”, Erstebank Collection, MUMOK Wien, Austria (International)
  • 2006 - “Autopoesis”, National Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia (International)
  • 2006 - Art Salon, Belgrade (International)
  • 2005 - “Embodying the City”, Lisbon, Gulbenkian Foundation (International)
  • 2003 - “Prophetic Remix”, M.N.A.C. Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 2002 - “Auf der Suche nach Balkanien”, Graz neue Gallerie (International)
  • 2002 - “In den Schluchten des Balkan”, Friedericianum Kassel (International)
  • 2001 - “Double Life”, Generali Foundation Wien, Austria (International)
  • 2001 - “Remedy for Melancholy”, Edsvik Art, Sollentuna (International)
  • 1999 - “Atelier Vagabond”, META Gallery, Bucharest, Romania (National)
  • 1998 - “Out of Actions”, MOCA Los Angeles, Viena, Barcelona, Tokio (International)
  • 1998 - “Body and the East”, Moderna Gallery, Ljubljana (International)
  • 1995 - “The Artistic Ego and the Dilemas of the Postcomunist Age – Month of Photography”, Bratislava, Slovakia (International)
  • 1991 - 1994 - São Paulo Biennale, Brasil (International)
  • 1991 - “Wanderlieder”, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands (International)
  • 1990 - “Points East”, Third’s Eye Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland (International)
Biennial (Selection)
  • 2004 - “Love It or Leave It” Cetinje Biennial (International)
  • 1997 - Venice Biennale, Romanian Pavilion (International)
  • 1979 - The International Biennale of Engraving, Bradford (International)


  • Award for the Church Restoration Painting, 1998
  • "Cuvântul" Magazine Award , 1998


  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona
  • Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA
  • National Museum of Contemporary Art, Romania

News & Events


This Lot is available for inspection at the Lavacow office on request only.

In addition to the hammer price you will have to pay the buyer's premium, which represents 16% of the hammer price. Lavacow members benefit of a reduction of the tax to 15% in the case of 'Collector' members and to 14% in the case of 'VIP' members.

You can choose to pick up the Lot from the Lavacow office in Bucharest, free of charge, or have it delivered from our office to your address, in which case you will cover any related expenses and taxes.



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